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Boys Town - Family Dynamics

Family Dynamics – the struggle is real – but so is the love.

February 9, 2022     By Boys Town Contributer

Boys Town Parenting, Connecting with Kids, Family, Healing Families, Parent-Child Relationships, Parenting, Parenting Skills, Teachable Moments, Understanding Behavior

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Ah, familial bliss. Until it isn't, that's when you need to have positive ways of dealing with the dynamics in your back pocket, waiting to diffuse the situation. The best actions you can take are the ones that will lessen the blow of a blow-out and create an environment of safety for all family members involved.

And how do you accomplish that goal?  By remembering the importance of teaching love in all family situations. And by never forgetting that even when children are behaving their worst, they still crave praise from their parents, even if they aren't earning it at that moment.

There are so many family situations that fall in the family dynamic category:

  • ​Sibling rivalries.
  • Blended family scenarios.
  • Children discover they were adopted.
  • ​Parents get divorced​​ and more.

 
Teaching love can mean many things, depending on the family dynamic in play. But above all else, it means treating everyone with respect and kindness, even when their current actions haven't earned that response. Heaping blame or hard feelings on top of an already hurtful situation will only prolong everyone's heartache.

Teaching love is sometimes easier when children are little, as no matter what they've said or done, they're still your baby.  However, once you hit the tween and teen years, it can be harder to keep your cool and lead by example, as children can be more vocal and downright disruptive. That's where parents and caregivers need to have a “step back" moment in mind for when things have gotten out of hand.

Letting a child retreat to his room, telling them you'll discuss this later after you've had time to think about it or telling them you'll have a family meeting later with all involved parties gives you that break to step away and avoid saying something unkind or unloving.

When you've reconvened for further discussion, lead with compassion and don't forget hugs or even pats on the back for more angry children. These are easy ways to convey that you love them, even if you completely disagree about something.

And now about giving out praise. It's best to do this regularly, so it doesn't appear out of place during a stressful time. (There's a whole chapter about effective praise in the book Common Sense Parenting®, by Boys Town Press.)   But keep in mind, even when you aren't agreeing, you can praise your child, tween or teen for thinking things through, being respectful of others' feelings or simply for doing what they are told, even if they didn't want to. Praise is powerful because it encourages kids to see the best in themselves and their environment.

So, as you notice family dynamics you'd like to deal with more positively, remember: teach love and give praise. You'll be amazed what those two actions can achieve.

Below are links to additional information that may be of help.

Blended Families

Today's Family​

Answering Questions About Birth Family​​​


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